Getting Your Vehicle Inspected, Steps

A NC Vehicle Safety & Emissions Inspection is required annually before the vehicle’s registration can be renewed. An inspection consists of 3 steps:

Step 1: County Requirement

Inspections, Safety & On-Board Diagnostic (OBD), are currently required in the following 48 NC counties:

  • Alamance
  • Brunswick
  • Buncombe
  • Burke
  • Cabarrus
  • Caldwell
  • Carteret
  • Catawba
  • Chatham
  • Cleveland
  • Craven
  • Cumberland
  • Davidson
  • Durham
  • Edgecombe
  • Forsyth
  • Franklin
  • Gaston
  • Granville
  • Guilford
  • Harnett
  • Haywood
  • Henderson
  • Iredell
  • Johnston
  • Lee
  • Lenoir
  • Lincoln
  • Mecklenburg
  • Moore
  • Nash
  • New Hanover
  • Onslow
  • Orange
  • Pitt
  • Randolph
  • Robeson
  • Rockingham
  • Rowan
  • Rutherford
  • Stanly
  • Stokes
  • Surry
  • Wake
  • Wayne
  • Wilkes
  • Wilson
  • Union

Step 2: Inspections

There are two parts to your vehicle's inspection.

Vehicle Safety Inspection

The vehicle inspection can be performed at any of the 7,500 licensed inspection stations throughout the state.

Exemptions, the following vehicle types do not need a Safety Inspection:
  • Vehicles 35 years old, or older

On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) Emissions Inspection

North Carolina is fighting ozone-forming emissions from gasoline-operated cars and light duty trucks. Inspections are conducted using the vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system, computerized equipment installed on all new vehicles since 1996.

Exemptions, the following vehicle types do not need an OBD Emissions Inspection:
  • Vehicles 35 years old, or older
  • Model 1995 vehicles, or older
  • Diesel-operated vehicles
  • Vehicles licensed under the farmer rate

Step 3: Pay Your Fees

On-Board Diagnostic Emissions Inspection: $30.00
Safety Inspection: $13.60

Electronic Vehicle Inspection Program

North Carolina vehicle safety and emissions inspections have gone electronic. This means that, since Nov. 1, 2008 windshield inspection stickers are not issued at your vehicle inspection.

Inspection mechanics will continue to issue a receipt showing the date, station and results of your inspection, and a record of your inspection will be entered into the DMV's vehicle registration database.

Failure to Pass Inspection

Unable to repair your vehicle?

If your car passes the safety inspection but fails the emissions inspection your vehicle may be eligible for a waiver if you meet the requirements imposed in North Carolina General Statute 20 – 183.5.

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